2023 Starting Rotation

johnlos

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He was looking for like 3 years at $13-$14M per when the Sox signed Kluber, though. They could have waited him out, but would have been risky and they had to add someone.
Why did we have to add someone on Jan 12? We I get that we eventually wanted to bring in an arm with Sale/Paxton being big ?s but if we weren't going to sign a frontline guy there were tons of options.

Thanks, didn't realize it was that complicated. Yeah, In a sense Wacha did sign for more, even if the floor of 3/$20 seems like a reasonable bet for a talented 31 year-old the team appeared to have somewhat "fixed"
 

chrisfont9

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Note, there is a general trend among pitchers that they get around half a run worse on FIP the second time through, and a bit worse on the third time.

https://baseballcloud.blog/2020/09/21/examining-the-time-through-the-order-penalty-part-1/

By comparison, Houck's first time through is spectacular, and his first two times through should come out to something above average. The third time through is obviously not great, although are those stats just this season? If so, it's pretty anecdotal and if you look at his game log, there are a couple implosions and a few other perfectly decent turns through batters 19-27. The question is whether he is just permanently hopeless after two turns, and the answer is at worst incomplete.
 
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shaggydog2000

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Note, there is a general trend among pitchers that they get around half a run worse on FIP the second time through, and a bit worse on the third time.

https://baseballcloud.blog/2020/09/21/examining-the-time-through-the-order-penalty-part-1/

By comparison, Houck's first time through is spectacular, and his first two times through should come out to something above average. The third time through is obviously not great, although are those stats just this season? If so, it's pretty anecdotal and if you look at his game log, there are a couple implosions and a few other perfectly decent turns through batters 19-27. The question is whether he is just permanently hopeless after two turns, and the answer is at worst incomplete.
And he is a developing player, he has to pitch a third time through the order to figure out how to do it on the MLB level. Maybe he never does and is a future reliever. But it's like letting developing young hitters bat against left and right handers instead of just platooning them instantly if they don't have equal numbers. You lose games developing players, but if you don't you'll lose even more over the long term.
 

johnlos

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Note, there is a general trend among pitchers that they get around half a run worse on FIP the second time through, and a bit worse on the third time.

https://baseballcloud.blog/2020/09/21/examining-the-time-through-the-order-penalty-part-1/

By comparison, Houck's first time through is spectacular, and his first two times through should come out to something above average. The third time through is obviously not great, although are those stats just this season? If so, it's pretty anecdotal and if you look at his game log, there are a couple implosions and a few other perfectly decent turns through batters 19-27. The question is whether he is just permanently hopeless after two turns, and the answer is at worst incomplete.
Surprised it isn't worse honestly. But the point is Houck has been particularly susceptible to this (well known) phenomenon for years which is why he's always been considered a fringe starter. For the record I'm also not sold on Whitlock as a starter either, so I'll leave it to the analytics guys to assess which of them deserves to stick.

Also perfectly happy removing Kluber and just keeping him stretched out until the next injury inevitably strikes. Unfortunately the pitch clock appears to be destroying arms so no one's rotation is lasting very long anymore. https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/82698/in-the-dirt-arm-injuries-pitch-clock/
 

chrisfont9

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Surprised it isn't worse honestly. But the point is Houck has been particularly susceptible to this (well known) phenomenon for years which is why he's always been considered a fringe starter. For the record I'm also not sold on Whitlock as a starter either, so I'll leave it to the analytics guys to assess which of them deserves to stick.

Also perfectly happy removing Kluber and just keeping him stretched out until the next injury inevitably strikes. Unfortunately the pitch clock appears to be destroying arms so no one's rotation is lasting very long anymore. https://www.baseballprospectus.com/news/article/82698/in-the-dirt-arm-injuries-pitch-clock/
OK, but as Shaggy says, Houck may not be doomed to repeat his past forever. Right now he's thru 6 and the third time through it's been six up, six down.
 

Larry33

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OK, but as Shaggy says, Houck may not be doomed to repeat his past forever. Right now he's thru 6 and the third time through it's been six up, six down.
Why take Houck out of the game after only 83 pitches when he's been brilliant? Hope the bullpen doesn't lose it again.
 

JM3

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Houck opener followed by some reliever finishing the inning the 1st time Houck allows a baserunner starting in the 4th inning, followed by Crawford seems like a thing that should be a thing.

Sale
Bello
Whitlock
Paxton
Houck/Crawford

I think that's their best rotation assuming health etc.
They skipped the part about letting Houck pitch until allowing a baserunner, but they almost are getting it.
 

chrisfont9

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Need to avoid gamethreading in this thread. As well though, the Sox need to not be afraid of replacing starters who are mowing guys down with less capable relievers.
Houck hasn't often worked too deep in games (e.g. 21-26 batters faced; 23 tonight) so I am not shocked, and the 7th would have started with two LHHs. Maybe they have some data about him struggling with lefties the third time? Or maybe they just wanted to quit while they were ahead, as far as getting him feeling more confident. They've lost three games recently after excellent starts, which happens, but hopefully not too much more. Apart from Kluber, the rotation is really feeling promising.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Houck hasn't often worked too deep in games (e.g. 21-26 batters faced; 23 tonight)
I think this is part of the problem at this point. Houck has now made 29 career starts. Basically a season's worth but they've been spread over four separate seasons. Continuing to be effective through the second and third times through an order is a learned skill. The best way to learn is by doing, and his opportunities to learn have been sporadic. Given the difference between AAA and MLB lineups, it's not necessarily something he can learn to do effectively anywhere but a big league game. They have to give him opportunities when they present themselves. Last night was a success, debate over whether he could have pitched the seventh aside. He needs more chances to repeat it.
 

AB in DC

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Generally speaking I'd rather they pull a starter a little two early than a little too late. The bullpen has been very good of late and there are now 13 pitchers on a roster so easier to spread out the innings you need. Didn't work this time but I think it was the right call.
 

streeter88

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Houck was tough in the sixth, and the top of the 7th was so quick (8 pitches!), that he hardly even sat down. Maybe Cora asked and he said he was cooked; maybe it's part of an early season caution with the starters; maybe Houck has little experience after 83 pitches - which I did see in the post above.

But how are we going to know if how good he is if we never let him try -- especially vs the bottom of the order?
 

SouthernBoSox

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That's literally the first time the entire season he has pitched well multiple times through the order. You had a very rested and viable Kutter Crawford ready to go. Seemed like an easy decision and to let Houck take the start as a massive positive and something to build on moving forward.
 

Al Zarilla

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Houck was tough in the sixth, and the top of the 7th was so quick (8 pitches!), that he hardly even sat down. Maybe Cora asked and he said he was cooked; maybe it's part of an early season caution with the starters; maybe Houck has little experience after 83 pitches - which I did see in the post above.

But how are we going to know if how good he is if we never let him try -- especially vs the bottom of the order?
How many starting pitchers have ever said they're cooked? I don't know, maybe some do. Good question for Cora. Did it get asked?
 

nvalvo

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Yeah, when the offense scores 1 run, the loss isn't on the pitching decisions.
Yup! Zero walks, a few nice defensive plays on hard hit balls, and a double play erasing one of our only base runners…

Holding a pretty great Angels lineup to two runs is a great outcome on the defensive side of the ledger.
 

richgedman'sghost

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That's literally the first time the entire season he has pitched well multiple times through the order. You had a very rested and viable Kutter Crawford ready to go. Seemed like an easy decision and to let Houck take the start as a massive positive and something to build on moving forward.
Houck did pitch into the 7th inning at Detroit early in April. However the angels lineup is much stronger than the Tigers and so this was a more impressive performance.
In fact; the game against the Tigers was the first time all season that a Sox starter pitched into the 7th inning.
 

chawson

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Houck was tough in the sixth, and the top of the 7th was so quick (8 pitches!), that he hardly even sat down. Maybe Cora asked and he said he was cooked; maybe it's part of an early season caution with the starters; maybe Houck has little experience after 83 pitches - which I did see in the post above.

But how are we going to know if how good he is if we never let him try -- especially vs the bottom of the order?
Houck has been a really encouraging part of this season so far, even a little underappreciated amid the splashier surprises.

I suspect he’ll be even better once Story replaces Valdez. Houck is among the top 10 starters who induce grounders to second base this year (behind other big groundball starters Cobb, Turnbull, Webb, Stroman, Lorenzen, Fried, Berrios and Feltner). Valdez has been pleasantly playable, but Story is of course several leagues better.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Short view- obviously a loss is a loss (and it's 100% on the offense). Long view- big victory for the apparent biggest weakness--- starting pitching and Houck.
 

Rovin Romine

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Sin Duda

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Losses are certainly frustrating, but another QS for young Bello (7 IP, 2 ERs). That's his highest game score (63) and most innings this season. I'll take 7 & 2 every day of the week.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Some shades of last season (especially the first month or so) where the bats and the pitching were often out of synch. 2-1 type losses and 10-8 type wins seemed commonplace last spring. Hopefully it's temporary. Definitely encouraging outings from Houck and Bello despite the game results.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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Some shades of last season (especially the first month or so) where the bats and the pitching were often out of synch. 2-1 type losses and 10-8 type wins seemed commonplace last spring. Hopefully it's temporary. Definitely encouraging outings from Houck and Bello despite the game results.
I am beginning to worry about the sustainability of the surprise offensive contributions from guys like Valdez, Wong and Duran. It wouldn’t shock me if they all hit under a .700 OPS from here on out. But meanwhile Devers has really ben looking not like a $30M cornerstone player.
Casas needs to get into a a stride and Cora sitting him too much doesn’t help.
I think Masa and Verdugo are legit, despite some ups and downs- borderline AS types for at least the next 4-5 seasons.
Need Devers to get some plate discipline, Casas luck to turn around…. Turner is fine. Need Story and Beltre up and in the MI. Kiké should be a bench player. That all happens and it can carry Wong and Duran hitting closer to reasonable rather than their recent hot streaks
 

BaseballJones

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Things to be excited/encouraged about with respect to the rotation:

Sale (last 4 starts):
6.1 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 0 bb, 5 k
6.0 ip, 7 h, 3 r, 3 er, 1 bb, 10 k
8.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 9 k
7.0 ip, 3 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 8 k
27.1 ip, 16 h, 7 r, 7 er, 3 bb, 32 k, 2.30 era, 0.69 whip, 10.5 k/9

Paxton (last 2 starts - only starts of the season):
5.0 ip, 4 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 9 k
6.0 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 5 k
11.0 ip, 9 h, 3 r, 3 er, 3 bb, 14 k, 2.45 era, 1.09 whip, 11.5 k/9

Bello (last 5 starts):
5.0 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 6 k
5.0 ip, 6 h, 4 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 5 k
6.0 ip, 6 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 5 k
5.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 5 bb, 7 k
7.0 ip, 6 h, 2 r, 2 er, 0 bb, 6 k
28.0 ip, 26 h, 10 r, 8 er, 9 bb, 29 k, 2.57 era, 1.25 whip, 9.3 k/9

Houck's last start: 6.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 8 k

Whitlock should be off the IL and should start this Saturday.
 

Wingack

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Things to be excited/encouraged about with respect to the rotation:

Sale (last 4 starts):
6.1 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 0 bb, 5 k
6.0 ip, 7 h, 3 r, 3 er, 1 bb, 10 k
8.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 1 bb, 9 k
7.0 ip, 3 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 8 k
27.1 ip, 16 h, 7 r, 7 er, 3 bb, 32 k, 2.30 era, 0.69 whip, 10.5 k/9

Paxton (last 2 starts - only starts of the season):
5.0 ip, 4 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 9 k
6.0 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 5 k
11.0 ip, 9 h, 3 r, 3 er, 3 bb, 14 k, 2.45 era, 1.09 whip, 11.5 k/9

Bello (last 5 starts):
5.0 ip, 5 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 6 k
5.0 ip, 6 h, 4 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 5 k
6.0 ip, 6 h, 2 r, 2 er, 1 bb, 5 k
5.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 5 bb, 7 k
7.0 ip, 6 h, 2 r, 2 er, 0 bb, 6 k
28.0 ip, 26 h, 10 r, 8 er, 9 bb, 29 k, 2.57 era, 1.25 whip, 9.3 k/9

Houck's last start: 6.0 ip, 3 h, 1 r, 1 er, 2 bb, 8 k

Whitlock should be off the IL and should start this Saturday.
So is Kluber going to get bounced from the rotation when Whitlock returns? Is Whitlock's spot in the rotation locked-in?

Who do you guys like better rest of season, Whitlock or Houck?

I am asking for fantasy baseball reasons (which I know, I know) but I like both guys and they are available on my waiver wire, so I figured I would come to you all for the best intel.
 

chrisfont9

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So is Kluber going to get bounced from the rotation when Whitlock returns? Is Whitlock's spot in the rotation locked-in?

Who do you guys like better rest of season, Whitlock or Houck?

I am asking for fantasy baseball reasons (which I know, I know) but I like both guys and they are available on my waiver wire, so I figured I would come to you all for the best intel.
Cora has already shot this down. Kluber starts Sunday, meaning he gets at least one more try. As to your second Q, I'd lean Whitlock for FBBL based on quality, though Houck is more durable.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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So is Kluber going to get bounced from the rotation when Whitlock returns? Is Whitlock's spot in the rotation locked-in?

Who do you guys like better rest of season, Whitlock or Houck?

I am asking for fantasy baseball reasons (which I know, I know) but I like both guys and they are available on my waiver wire, so I figured I would come to you all for the best intel.
Kluber is on the thinnest of ice. He needs to dial back the clock on Sunday to save his job. He's going to need to show signs of 2017-2018 Kluber, let alone even 2022 Kluber. Short of that, I can't see how either Whitlock or Houck deserve to be pushed to the bullpen in favor of continuing to run Kluber out there every fifth day.
 

Wingack

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Kluber is on the thinnest of ice. He needs to dial back the clock on Sunday to save his job. He's going to need to show signs of 2017-2018 Kluber, let alone even 2022 Kluber. Short of that, I can't see how either Whitlock or Houck deserve to be pushed to the bullpen in favor of continuing to run Kluber out there every fifth day.
Well, would you look at that, the ice cracked. Looks like Houck and Whitlock are in.

Thanks both for the help.
 

Sin Duda

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I'm starting to believe in this group. I think this group, IF they can stay healthy, can be a top 5 group of starters in the AL. I can't split the Starter stats for May only on my phone. Anyone know how the Sox rank in the AL in Starter ERA in May?
 

AB in DC

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I'm starting to believe in this group. I think this group, IF they can stay healthy, can be a top 5 group of starters in the AL. I can't split the Starter stats for May only on my phone. Anyone know how the Sox rank in the AL in Starter ERA in May?
17th in ERA, 22d in FIP, 22d in FWAR (though fewer games than most teams).

Don't think that includes tonight.
 

JM3

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Since May 4th, the 5 starters who are currently in the rotation have a 3.15 ERA.

Houck allowed 6 in 6 on May 1st & there were obviously several mediocre to bad Pivetta & Kluber starts.
 

nvalvo

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Even more than the performance, I’m starting to feel like the organization can actually fix things with their pitchers: Sale’s mechanics were off, and now they’re fixed. Houck’s repertoire made it hard to turn over a lineup, but it looks like he may be making some tweaks and starting to get results. Whitlock’s changeup was broken; looks like it might be fixed.

Nobody is going to succeed at that all the time, but this is really promising.
 

chrisfont9

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Even more than the performance, I’m starting to feel like the organization can actually fix things with their pitchers: Sale’s mechanics were off, and now they’re fixed. Houck’s repertoire made it hard to turn over a lineup, but it looks like he may be making some tweaks and starting to get results. Whitlock’s changeup was broken; looks like it might be fixed.

Nobody is going to succeed at that all the time, but this is really promising.
Great point. I am starting to think that my offseason hopes of them chasing a top guy are misguided. [Partly because Urias has been bad; Shohei obbviously is another matter but isn't likely.] Obviously Paxton is a free agent and if he's good someone else should and will pay him, but with Crawford and maybe Winckowski next up, we are in good shape for a few years.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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Great point. I am starting to think that my offseason hopes of them chasing a top guy are misguided. [Partly because Urias has been bad; Shohei obbviously is another matter but isn't likely.] Obviously Paxton is a free agent and if he's good someone else should and will pay him, but with Crawford and maybe Winckowski next up, we are in good shape for a few years.
I expect they'll sign somebody next winter. Maybe not a top-tier guy, but it'll be someone to put in the Paxton slot. Wouldn't shock me if it was another 1 year veteran or reclamation project in the vein of Kluber/Wacha/Hill/etc. Just someone to add to the depth and make for a little competition at the back end. As much as I like what Crawford and Winckowski bring, it probably wouldn't be prudent to just assume one of them will work out full time in the rotation.
 

Max Power

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Even more than the performance, I’m starting to feel like the organization can actually fix things with their pitchers: Sale’s mechanics were off, and now they’re fixed. Houck’s repertoire made it hard to turn over a lineup, but it looks like he may be making some tweaks and starting to get results. Whitlock’s changeup was broken; looks like it might be fixed.

Nobody is going to succeed at that all the time, but this is really promising.
https://theathletic.com/4546565/2023/05/24/red-sox-prospect-system-overhaul?source=user-shared-article

There was a recent article in the Athletic about how they're using pitch analytics to fix grips and pitch mixes.
 

Sandy Leon Trotsky

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I expect they'll sign somebody next winter. Maybe not a top-tier guy, but it'll be someone to put in the Paxton slot. Wouldn't shock me if it was another 1 year veteran or reclamation project in the vein of Kluber/Wacha/Hill/etc. Just someone to add to the depth and make for a little competition at the back end. As much as I like what Crawford and Winckowski bring, it probably wouldn't be prudent to just assume one of them will work out full time in the rotation.
The FA pitchers look not interesting, overpriced or unlikely though. I think a trade is more likely…. Bloom has accumulated some higher level talent that isn’t too far off.
 

Petagine in a Bottle

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The FA pitchers look not interesting, overpriced or unlikely though. I think a trade is more likely…. Bloom has accumulated some higher level talent that isn’t too far off.
Pitchers, though? Not really. But if Bello, Whitlock, and Houck can be competent starters and Sale is SALE, then they probably won’t need more than another short term guy to fill out the rotation. Last few turns around have been pretty promising though, that’s for sure. I think the season has always largely rested on what the team can get from Sale, Whitlock, and Bello.
 

BaseballJones

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Baseball rules are sometimes tough.


Sox lose 9-8.

Bello: 4.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 2 BB, 4K
Rodriguez: 0.2 IP, 2 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 1 K

Bello gets the loss because he leaves with the Sox down 1-0.
 

joe dokes

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Right but he was light years better than Rodriguez. I mean… which pitcher “contributed” more to the loss?
Yeah, AFAIK, there's no official scorer's discretion in awarding a loss, as there is in awarding a win when the starter doesn't go 5.